We were lucky to catch up with Michael Carini recently and have shared our conversation below.
Michael, thanks for taking the time to share your stories with us today Have you been able to earn a full-time living from your creative work? If so, can you walk us through your journey and how you made it happen? Was it like that from day one? If not, what were some of the major steps and milestones and do you think you could have sped up the process somehow knowing what you know now?
We’ve all heard the term “Starving Artist,” and for the longest time, I despised that term. What I failed to realize though, was that it was my hunger that would be the driving force behind turning my calling into a sustainable lifestyle. As artists, regardless of your medium and style, we are creative. In that regard, we are capable of finding or creating creative solutions. One of the most important lessons I’ve learned throughout my life is that sometimes holding on and surviving to fight tomorrow is your progress. There will be ups and downs. There will be lulls. There will be times that you even want to quit. The secret to success is not to. The secret is to hold on and keep going. The secret is to endure and to learn to use your hunger as fuel. In doing so, you will outlast many of your peers. I hesitate to use the word “competition” because other artists are not your competition. As artists, we create our own worlds and our own realities. As I’ve learned to finally embrace the term of “starving artist,” I’ve also learned to feed those peers along the way….because I know what it feels like to be hopeless and on the bottom. I also know what it feels like to pick yourself up and climb out of a dark hole. That’s my message and what I hope to share through my passion. My art is my life and my life is my art…and I’m still hungry and carrying on.
Awesome – so before we get into the rest of our questions, can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers.
I’m a full-time neurodivergent artist based in San Diego. I’m largely self-represented and a one person business known as “CariniArts,” but I am also blessed and privileged to partner with local galleries like Adelman Fine Art, who has presented me with some wonderful opportunities to share my passion and my calling with the world. I have a broad repertoire of work, and am currently focused on two bodies of work. Some people may find that odd for an artist, but I feel it couldn’t be more natural. It is my yin and my yang. My yang, or light, is my “Roots” collection. My yin, or darkness, is my new “Open Wounds” collection. My work dives heavily into personal experience and mental health awareness. I think this is heavily presented through my “Open Wounds” collection, which dives head first into my trauma and struggles. The idea behind this collection is that sometimes you need to expose your wounds so they can breath and, hopefully, heal. My hope is that my openness will help others to reflect upon the same so they may find healing in their own lives and experiences. People can contact me directly for my originals and commissions. I have work in just about every state and a couple dozen countries. I also have some great apparel designs, blankets, buttons, stickers, and much more. What am I most proud of? I would say that I’m here today, doing what people told me I could never do, and I did it my way. That may have been the hard way, but I’ve never been afraid of putting in work.
Can you share your view on NFTs? (Note: this is for education/entertainment purposes only, readers should not construe this as advice)
So I have a bit of a unique perspective here because I am not at all tech savvy and I understand the grievances some have about NFTs and their value. However, while doing a live painting demo for the Surfrider Foundation at The Shops at La Jolla Village, I was approached by a start-up that presented me with a wonderful and unexpected opportunity. I am now the Artist Advisor for a start-up called Verilink, which specializes in what’s known as “physical NFTs.” What’s a physical NFT? Let me give you an example. For my very first physical NFT, I did a live painting demo at Adelman Fine Art in Little Italy. We documented the entire experience and turned it into a time-lapse. The time-lapse was what we turned into the NFT. Here’s where it gets really cool though. We attached a card with the NFT to the back of my painting. Now, through the Verilink app, you can scan the painting, and it pulls up the NFT. It’s quite the experience and it removes that questions of “Where is the value?” You have your physical painting and all of its value, and now you just added to the experience. We’re going to take that a step further in upcoming months. Right now I’m in the planning stages to create a series of physical NFTs for which we will add AR, or augmented reality, for an experiential exhibition at La Playa Gallery in La Jolla. That should be quite the show so I hope people will join me for that experience.
What can society do to ensure an environment that’s helpful to artists and creatives?
It’s pretty simple. Support artists. Buy their work. If you can’t buy their work, share their work. Being an artist has always been tough. Being an artist in a pandemic is tougher. being an artist in a pandemic in city with living costs like San Diego is even tougher. Costs of living have gotten out of control and it now requires much more to have what I comfortable had pre-pandemic. The people that support my work really do help to keep my dream alive and make what I do possible. I love giving back, and the more people support me, the more I can give back. That cycle of balanced reciprocity is a beautiful one. Small businesses need your help more than ever. The pandemic has crippled small businesses while many big block businesses have thrived because they know how to access and acquire resources that small independent businesses do not. We appreciate your support and we need you.
- Website: CariniArts.com
- Instagram: acrylic alchemy
- Facebook: CariniArts
- Linkedin: acrylicalchemy
- Twitter: acrylic alchemy
- Youtube: CULTurestART
- Yelp: CariniArts
- Other: CariniArts on TikTok AcrylicAlchemy on Tumblr
All photos are mine